The Very Best Of Odense?

The Very Best Of Odense?
Opinions | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | Thursday, November 8, 2018

The award show celebrated Odense landmarks like H&M, Søstrene Grene and Magasin (!). Is that really the best the city has to offer? Hardly. 

Last Thursday there was a gala in Odeon's great green hall. Complete with speeches, cocktail dresses, VIP’s, and thunderous applause. And it wasn’t to celebrate the national music scene, international authors, global media or business moguls, but in honor of our very own Odense: The everyday, down-to-earth Odense with all the working people whose businesses, volunteer initiatives and cultural institutions shape this unique city.

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept or have wondered about the blue stickers that have suddenly sprouted on shop doors these last three years: Best Of Odense is an audience award created and presented by Fynske Medier, or more precisely the weekly newspaper, Ugeavisen Odense, with the stated intention of “celebrating the city’s commercial and cultural life.”

The weekly’s readers decide the outcome through popular vote, but the nominated are selected by a panel of experts in their respective fields.

On a scale from hooting local-patriot to self-hating pre-emigrant, I’m doubtless closer to the former. Not in the sense that I think my hometown is better than every other place on earth – but rather, that my city is an interesting place to live, not despite, but because of all the things that separate it from others. In other words, I’m in the target demographic for a night of Odense back-patting. So why did I go home feeling so alienated and embarrassed about the image of the city we were supposed to be honoring?

Let me start by saying that there were several lovely Odense moments spread over the course of the evening. Not the least of which was two generations of barkeeps from Carlsens Kvarter in a wrinkled wool sweater and T-shirt, respectively, who got the prize for “Best Place To Go Out-On-The-Town” and in lilting Fyn accents invited the evening’s host, Anders Breinholt from the satire show Natholdet, to record his next podcast in their establishment. There was also music by local 15-year old violin prodigy Stefan Burchardt, who blew everyone away, and Per Sahl from Havnens Loppemarked (the Harbor Fleamarket), who recited the full name of every single regular patron from the last 20 years during his thank you speech and had to be loudly played off stage to stem his tide of heartfelt anecdotes. 

Still, the thundercloud above my head grew darker and darker as the nominations ran across the big screen. Which city was it exactly that we were celebrating? Why did the presenter’s words about local pride, passionate innovators, entrepreneurs and the city’s unique environment ring so hollow?

The award show in Odeon. Not pictured: The writer’s nails as they dig furrows in her thighs. Photo: Hasse Frimodt, Ugeavisen

Was it just because my favorite places didn’t get enough awards, that I felt more and more downhearted about the trend that emerged as the night progressed? Sure, I would have clapped more enthusiastically if, for example, Kjærs Bøger, Momentum Musik, Sofar Sounds, my own workplace, Odense International Film Festival, or Restaurant ARO had won their categories, because that’s where I go and the side of the city that I cherish as my own. But even though I don’t often eat at Eydes or Umashi or Kok & Vin, or go to Zoo much, I thought they deserved their victories and determined to visit some time soon.

So what was wrong? The great embarrassment was to be found in the copious names of chain stores that appeared among the locals and totally dominated certain categories. What in the world does celebrating national and multinational franchises, which can be found on street corners in every large Danish or Northern European city, have to do with Odense’s own DNA? Could Mickey D’s at central station be “Odense’s Best” if enough people get their hangover junk food there?  

It shouldn’t be possible to end up with a “Best of Odense” where Magasin, H&M and Søstrene Grene walk home with awards, or where the evening’s culture award goes to Tinderbox, only to have their PR chief John Fogde highlight that the main office in Århus was pleased to be recognized for the third year in a row.

You can think what you want about award shows and the need to show local pride in that specific manner, but if the purpose is to honor the city’s local champions, then I simply don’t understand why you would attempt to do this by inviting the people of Odense to consider their favorite places and bring in all of the city’s commercial and cultural actors to celebrate Odense’s special characteristics, when the nominations, in addition to the aforementioned problematic winners, include franchises like Bahne (a Danish concern from 1956, specializing in gifts and handicrafts with 19 shops nationwide), Jagger (a Copenhagen fast casual concept), Café Vivaldi (a chain from Slagelse with 17 cafés in 12 Danish towns), Georg Jensen Danmark (seven flagship stores in Denmark), Weekday (a Swedish clothing chain with stores in 9 different countries), and Heidis Bier Bar (a Scandinavian after-ski chain)?


Nominated for Best Place To Go Out-On-The-Town: You can really feel you’re in Odense, now! Or Århus, Aalborg, Thisted, Copenhagen, Sønderborg, Svendborg, Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansand, or Helsinki. Photo: Heidis Bier Bar Oslo.

The irony was not lost on Anders Breinholt, who threw a couple of satirical jabs in this direction, and who had done his homework well enough that his own jokes about the Hunderup neighborhood and construction noise in the center of town landed more cleanly than Ugeavisen's own congratulatory speeches. 

This is where the award committee needs to reevaluate their whole concept, if they want to have anything of meaning to say about what separates this patch of dirt from any other. Otherwise, I’d suggest that they rename the award “Best Of Western Retail” and hold the gala in a conference hall close to a random airport next year.

Quality time with a bit of Odense-shopping: Photo Magasin in Rødovre

But – interjects the careful reader – this is an audience award! Ugeavisen can’t help that people love Søstrene Grene. That’s just something the people of Odense have in common with all of humanity. And they’re the ones who voted. But that is a totally flawed conclusion, because an audience award isn’t an objective statement of fact. If the question is “where have you bought the most furniture?” the answer for most Danes is probably IKEA. But that doesn’t mean that a Swedish modular cabinet is the best Danish design has to offer.

If, on the other hand, you ask which local shop you most enjoy visiting and which you would recommend to others, or where your most important cultural experiences have been recently, then Odense has thankfully become a place where there are a ton of varied answers to be found.

This Thursday’s collected Best-Of nominations are even more frustrating, since the city actually does offer a unique shopping and cultural scene, nowadays.

If the awards and nominations are to reflect the city Odense has become – and not be dominated by the habitual paths people carved during the previous century, propped up by a couple of successful imports – then Ugeavisen's central premise needs to be changed. They need to ask better questions if they want to call the resulting answers “The Best Of Odense.”

Winner in the category of “ Best Shopping For Her”: That local upstart clothes pusher, H&M. Photo: Kolding Shopping mall

To help out, I’ve got two suggestions which need to be taken into account in order to make next year’s Best Of award a meaningful recognition of Odense’s unique qualities.

  1. Only shops, groups, institutions and other actors who are founded in/have their base of operations within the geography of Odense can be considered for awards. It’s not a question of passing a citizenship test, and of course new arrivals are welcome, but the physical shop or event has to be planned, run, or organized in Odense.

Result: You avoid ending up with a list of winners that could as easily have been named in Randers, Roskilde, Næstved, or Holstebro. If that means some categories have to go, so be it. The list has to reflect the city. If we don’t have enough homegrown haberdashers to fill a list of nominees, then that points to an intriguing hole in our retail market. It wouldn’t be a problem at all, but a great opportunity for Best Of Odense to frame the debate, rather than simply being a business event where everyone chugs the bubbly and applauds when the safest bets carry the day.

  1. The award categories need to change.

Result: The places that are thriving off the beaten path get a shot at the spotlight. There’s also a strong overrepresentation of shopping and food, compared to cultural categories. Because of this, one-time events like Sommerrevyen (the summer cabaret) and large art institutions like Brandts fight for the same recognition. Just as historical museums, art museums, theaters, music venues and galleries all fall into the same cultural pot. It makes sense to differentiate between brunch, burgers, take-away, cafés, and fine dining in the food category. But we miss out on corresponding nuances like “Best Music Venue”, “Best Theater” and “Best Gallery” or at the very least “Best Large Culture Venue” and “Best Little Culture Venue”. And while we’re at it, ditch the whole “for him/for her” split in the shopping category. What the hell does gender have to do with any of this?

Hello! Where’s the award for Best “Brunner” (the down-home local pastry, made by every self-respecting baker) or Best Bike Parking!? Why not make the categories specific to our town? You can eat brunch anywhere. And in this vein, there’s nothing wrong with more categories like “Best Service”, which - perhaps as the only exception - could bypass the locally-grounded criteria by rewarding skilled and personable employees, regardless of whether their employer pays taxes in Odense, Ireland, or the Bahamas. What about a “Best Idle Chit-Chat” category, “Best Opening Hours” (a perfect category for pubs and corner pizzerias, which might even encourage someone to finally create the good late-night eatery the city is begging for!) or an award for “Most Indispensable Thread In The Local Fabric”, “Best At Preserving Local History” or “Best Risk-Taker”?

A bonus reason for expanding the categories:

This Thursday a large portion of the winners were up on the stage for the third year in a row. What does that show? That Odense is a predictable town with few great restaurants? That Tinderbox is the best local cultural event? No: Just that Tinderbox is the biggest in terms of audience and publicity and that the award show has so few cultural categories that even the biggest of the “smaller” events disappears when it all comes down to number of tickets sold.

It is the nature of audience awards to highlight the mainstream, but since we already have a Best Of Odense nominating committee, specifically tasked with selecting finalists from among the thousands of reader suggestions, I can’t see why you wouldn’t give the audience the best possible options to vote on.

Maybe I’ve misunderstood entirely. Maybe Best Of Odense isn’t about rewarding the people and places that make Odense a lovely, special place to live and who contribute to all of our quality of life by doing what they love, but rather to boost revenues in the local business association’s ailing shops by talking them up on the retail market. In that case – sorry about all the hubbub and wild demands for integrity, ingenuity and nuance. Keep on keepin’ on.

I just have a feeling that Ugeavisen’s editorial board have greater ambitions and more love for their city than that. Their sister publication, Pindle’s, thorough smart and sensitive portraits of local business owners these last few years bears witness to the fact. And it was what their editor-in-chief clearly expressed at the start of the show last Thursday. Which is why I also dare to believe that they would agree that it would be a great thing if the Odense’s widest-distributed newspaper (80.000+ copies) could live up to the responsibility it is to have the ear of the population and publish a list of nominees that is both diverse and surprising. A list of places and experiences, which only exist here in Odense, and which don’t simply affirm the reader’s old habits, but inspire them to explore more of our homegrown shops, cultural institutions and societies. I’m sure H&M will survive without the pat on the back.

Odense’s Best Interior Design. No, wait, that’s Søstrene Grene in Hamburg.


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A declaration of love to 100 meters of city street

A declaration of love to 100 meters of city street
Essay | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I’ve stood there so many times on my way home. A place that had been a foreign, maybe even hostile land throughout my youth at the other end of Odense. A place that was outside the sphere of my understanding – a gateway to a whole other world inhabited by doctors, local football legends and other fabulous creatures whose existence I could barely imagine.

On the corner of Hunderupvej and Læssøegade, under the enormous oak that – I always note – quite meticulously twists and turns each of the yellow tiles placed over its giant roots. A sort of slow wrestling match between civilization and nature, where nature decides to move another brick every time the mason turns his back, just to see if he’ll keep coming back to sprinkle the sand again. Sprinkling sand and righting the lines.

I’ve stood there again and again – waiting for green at the crosswalk. The time is never so long that my thoughts untether from my senses, but just enough that impressions become something other than clear-cut observations. A grounded dream world.

I look up along Hunderupvej. It’s a damn good space. I think that every time. A space for people.

If it is a warm evening – regardless of the day of the week – the windows at Carlsens are slightly ajar. Often helped along by a shoe or a shirt instead of the traditional clasp. As if to somehow skirt the fact that the closest neighbors can hear everything that gets said, shouted or laughed inside. The windows are dappled with pearls of steam and a soft light shapes the sidewalk and the hundreds of bicycles that have brought night-roused beer enthusiasts to the pub. On the stoop that faces the city there are often a couple of men smoking, or friends, waiting for other cyclists to arrive from one of the other corners of the world. Arms are thrown aloft, hugs clog the sidewalk, smiles are shared.

When I’m standing there waiting, there’s just time enough for irritation. About Barfoed’s ugly zinc pennant logos, which – infuriatingly – have appropriated the space and the history swaying over the two distinguished buildings on the corners of Hunderupvej and Læssøegade.

The light turns green and I walk up Hunderupvej. I look up at the roof of the street, where the false acacias - or Robinias, I think they are – tower. These are trees that green late and shed their leaves early, but regardless of the season present a picturesque crown that grants the urban space a roof and an even more human character. When I walk there in the early summer, I am overwhelmed by the sweet and lightly perfumed scent from the trees’ giant clusters of white pea-flower looking blooms. An aroma that is even more present because I know its time is so brief. Then the flowers are carried away by the wind and down onto the street. Here, they comprise a fine white runner, which frames the street’s dance, where the stories of passers-by are briefly woven together. It reminds me of Jane Jacobs’ image of the good city’s streets, where people meet one another in an improvised ballet:

"This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations."

I walk past Carlsens and arrive at the crook of Hunderupvej. On the right, the sidewalk is wide and the buildings shaped by everyday necessities – simple, but relatively nice, with high basement windows, each telling its own story. Most are rental units. On the left side are the majestic, decorated perimeter-block buildings – both sides engaged in a quiet conversation about red bricks. Successful integration without assimilation.

I think about the Hunderupvej of days past. Back when the cable car carried cheerful weekending Odensians up the street to Hunderup Forest. Back when front yards filled most of the now-broad sidewalks.

And it reminds me that the tall cellar windows are on the right side because it was here that the noises and smells of trade abounded, only troubling the commoners upstairs. Like J.P. Jensens Butchery and Meats on Hunderupvej 23, which later housed a camera shop. Or the little greengrocer’s that sold milk for Sanderum Dairy in number 29. Back when day-to-day life was the street and the street lived day-to-day.

The left side of the street was free from this sort of thing, because it was populated by the upper class (it probably still is). The left side of the street, where every single building still manages to strike an almost symphonic harmony between unique, beautiful ornamentation on the individual units and an architectural sense of wholeness throughout the block. Noblesse Oblige. Old money that doesn’t shirk its responsibility to the town that made it. Like Anton Rosen’s protected building from 1902 at Hunderupvej 34, erected in tile, sandstone and cement. Perhaps a bit too decorative, I think. Though still with a copper pennant which reads 1902 instead of Barfoed.

And on the highest balcony, I sometimes see a couple of young men hanging out in their work clothes. Drinking a beer and talking about girls, I imagine. They really don’t belong there on the left side, I’ve often thought, and wonder if they live there, if they know that they are sitting on a balcony that was designed by one of Denmark’s finest architects? And then again - it’s kind of a moving thought, I think.

My gaze drifts back to the right side. Maybe history isn’t so far away, or maybe it moves in circles. In the basement of number 29, some of the inhabitants have opened a little shop where they sell their own art and will sharpen your knives for you on special fine-grained whetstones and leather straps. They also have a little table and a couple of chairs where they sit when the sun approaches noon – where they join the dancing street. They don’t understand why so many people choose to sit in their back yards, they’ve told me – and they’re quite right. Here on the street there’s room to be yourself and become a part of others at the same time.

100 meters of street where people meet. A ballroom with a green roof for pedestrians. A portal between two worlds. 100 meters of street that tell stories about the daily life of past times and perhaps about the future. Maybe this little patch of street is a reminder about possible futures for other streets in Odense, where it will be possible to live, exist, trade, meet and drink a drop of fellowship on a warm summer’s evening. Where high and low can live side-by-side. A street where life is lived in urban spaces, built for people.

This is the endpoint of my journey. This is my home. Even though I still tell people that I live by Carlsens, and not on Hunderupvej.



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On the right to criticize without an alternative

On the right to criticize without an alternative
Opinions | Written by: Kasper Herschend | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | Monday, October 15, 2018

The last few years it has been possible to detect a growing criticism of - and perhaps even outright negativity towards - the transformation our city is undergoing.  Byens Ø, T. B. Thriges gade, etc. The article Bygges Byen Bedre? (Can the City be Built Better?) from earlier this year is just one example of this, while a group like Bevar Siloøen (Preserve the Silo-Island) is an example of a group that might be termed actively critical of transformation itself.

A few months ago, I attended a series of talks about civic activism and urban transformation with a focus on architecture. First of all, I learned a lot by being there. But I also became aware of a dynamic that I hadn’t noticed before: That those who take a critical stance toward modernization and transformation of city spaces are unfairly expected to provide alternative solutions along with their critiques.

The Demand For An Alternative?

By which I mean to say that while a group or individual who opposes a particular political decision may well have a stronger case if they are able to present an alternative, it cannot become a prerequisite that in order to be allowed to criticize a decision, a citizen or citizen’s group must at the same time also be able to formulate a solution which has measurably better outcomes than the original proposal.

Counter Arguments

There are a lot of good arguments to support this stance, but I’m going to present two that I hope can set a proper tone for discussion the next time two conservative city councilors sneak in the back door and hijack an article about urban transformation in order to score a few cheap points on the citizen-engagement-scale.

My ambition with this article is to inspire reflection about political engagement. Regardless of whether the debate concerns our surroundings or the infrastructure and service we get for our tax kroner, we have a right to an opinion about the city in which we make up the population.

The Sudoku Lover

Imagine a random person; or perhaps rather imagine an average person. This average person has an array of skills, among which are an ability to solve Sudokus. It turns out she isn’t entirely average, however, because she loves solving Sudokus and spends 3 hours every weekend solving these Japanese math puzzles. Her constant training has the effect that she is now a mid-level Sudoku-loving Sudoku- solver.

This average Sudoku-lover subscribes to her paper precisely because it has made space in the back pages for no less than 3 Sudokus. She buys the paper Saturday and Sunday and as a result spends a half hour reconfiguring numbers in the squares of each Sudoku over the course of a weekend.

Cross Words

One Saturday morning she discovers to her great disappointment that the three Sudokus have been reduced to one, in favor of an expansion of crossword puzzles over her beloved math puzzles.

She immediately sits down and writes a complaint to the newspaper she had otherwise enjoyed for so long. In this mail she declares that she is prepared to find another paper if they don’t reinstate the three Sudokus and immediately banish the imperialistic word game to the corner which had been good enough for it all these years. On Monday morning, the paper answers that the change is due to a notable drop in the number of Sudoku-solvers among their readership and that crossword-enthusiasts once again outnumber Sudoku-solvers.

Support and Facts

The slightly cheeky customer support employee who is manning the keyboard this particular Monday morning tells the Sudoku-lover that she is very welcome to come up with a better alternative, which he can pass on to the back-page editor. The Sudoku-lover naturally declines, feeling that she has a lost cause on her hands.

But what neither the employee nor the Sudoku-lover know is that recently a number of newpapers and weeklies have been in the process of an aggressive marketing push specifically targeting the Sudoku-solving segment because they actually represent a larger customer base than crossword-enthusiasts.

Thus, the Sudoku-solver had in fact unknowingly presented a better alternative, but since none of the involved parties could evaluate the proposal in light of relevant data, this never became apparent.

Adapted Desires

Another, more academically based line of argument takes its genesis in sociologist and political theoretician, Jon Elster’s concept of Adaptive Preference Formation, which denotes a mechanism in the human cognitive system.

In an oft-paraphrased anthropological study supposedly stemming from the middle of the 19th century, a group of scientists note that slaves in the American south’s cotton fields don’t seem to have a burning desire for freedom. When asked about their wishes, most answer – quite contrary to expectations- things like more food, better sleeping arrangements, etc..

The study has since been taken to show how we humans adapt our desires so that they exist within a more realistic framework. And thereby, that our circumstances determine our desires, which combined with the aforementioned study explains why slaves weren’t able to formulate a desire for freedom until their outer circumstances changed enough to allow it to be experienced as an actual possibility.

The veracity of this supposed anthropological study has been called into question many times, but none the less it serves to illustrate the mechanism which Jon Elster brings up, and which he quite convincingly argues exists in us all.

Incomplete Sketches

When you have to make a decision, you do it from an incomplete list of possibilities. If, for example, I have to move because I am being evicted from my current apartment, I make a list of possible solutions in my head and take my immediate choice from it. In spite of the incompleteness that characterizes this list. I hadn’t considered the possibility of living in Odense’s harbor before someone built apartments there and I hadn’t thought of the neighborhood around Skibhusgade before a friend of mine showed me that this was a place you could actually live; Just to name a couple of banal examples.

Unrealistic Alternatives

I haven’t mentioned Elster merely to point out that we make choices from incomplete sketches of our possibilities, but to bring attention to the fact that there are systematic flaws in the sketches themselves. When in a given political discussion we are asked to propose an alternative, we have to be aware that this alternative - according to Elster – is very rarely visionary, because visionary solutions are by nature unrealistic alternatives.

Obviously it can’t be my duty as an ordinary citizen to have to show  the tax ministry how to run its affairs, in order to be justified in criticizing it. And it cannot be my job as an average person to construct a local development plan that ensures reasonable construction in Odense’s harbor, in order to have the right to say that they currently have the wrong priorities. It is without a doubt my right to present objections toward any – from my point of view – unwise proposed solutions.

The Visionary

And that is precisely the point. Because the slaves who weren’t able to conceive of freedom– whether or not they were fictional –  were no less deserving of it. It has to be ok to voice a criticism, without single-handedly being able to propose your own alternative solution.

The hope is that the Visionary one day hears this cry and helps to formulate a viable alternative. But in order for her to hear it, it is important that the critique be allowed to ring out, loud and clear.



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Top 5 do-not-miss summer events

Top 5 do-not-miss summer events
Guide | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Malte Joe Frid-Nielsen | Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Even though we’ve already had more heat than we could dream of in a land that shares a lattitude with southern Alaska, the weather-gurus only seem to predict more to come. So maybe this is the year for you to stay local and hang out in the city? No matter what, it’s highly likely that many of you are going to spend a greater part of the next three months in O-Town.

And what are you supposed to do with that time, other than looking at trees and suspending yourself mid-dive between the heat and any available body of water? Here’s my ranked guide to the 5 events you should already be planning and booking into your summer calendar.

1. JAIYEDE JAZZ FESTIVAL – AUGUST 4th

The evening sun caresses you, summer-fresh crowds glide along the characteristic mottled yellow bricks of Ny Vestergade – ebbing and flowing between the park and the market. The smell of new-lit coals mingles with the scent of fresh-mown grass. A faint mist sprays from Stryget’s rushing water, cooling you with the collected memories of rainy days past.

And then. You notice the exotic, sweaty, hypnotizing tones wafting out of Teater Momentum on the evening breeze. It is the sound of the whole world, as it finds its expression in London’s urban jungle. The sound of the burgeoning British jazz scene, which Momentum Musik, together with Jam Days, has managed to bring together into one day of festival-fusion, with jazz, electronica, folklore, hiphop and genres whose names are only now being invented.

Featured on the poster are Sarathy Korwar and Kefaya, both of whom guested Momentum within the last year and enjoyed their stay so much that they requested a return. They are joined in the program by Collocutor, Emanative and DJ Pete Buckenham.

After enjoying the intense, intimate concerts with both Sarathy Korwar and Kefaya, I can confidently predict that Jaiyede Jazzfestical will be the summer’s biggest musical experience.

You be the judge:


Kefaya – Indignados



Sarathy Korwar - Bismillah

 150 kr. ·100 kr with a musikårskort from Momentum · Free access with an armband from Jam Days · Buy your tickets here: http://www.teatermomentum.dk/event/jaiyede-jazz-festival/

 

2. ODENSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - OFF 18 - AUGUST 27th- SEPTEMBER 2nd

Denmark’s oldest film festival. Denmarks only Oscar qualifying film festival – now in four different categories. Odense’s window to bite-size worlds of wonder. A totally unique buzz in the area around Brandts, where wine and beer flow apace with foreign tongues and blanket-draped summer guests watch films on huge screens beneath the open skies. A relaxing week of cinematic stories, which never fails to charm anyone who meets the festival with an open heart.

111 short films have been selected for the 43rd edition of this festival, and are ready for perusal on the brand new website. The posters have been designed. Young film talents from the Super 16 program have been chosen as the year’s artistic profile and filmmakers from around the world have booked tickets to a week of film that is – almost – entirely free. Remember to pick up one of the printed programs when they land at the beginning of August. Leafing through them is always a delight.

 
A look back at OFF ’17

0 kr. · Some programs charge separately· Remember to reserve seats in the cinema as soon as they are available at https://filmfestival.dk/programoversigt/

3. DYNAMO CIRCUS FESTIVAL 2018 - AUGUST10th-11th

Foto: Hans Kristian Hannibal-Bach

Dynamo runs the new-circus stage and work-space in the old FAF building on Byens Ø. Their shows are always frenetic, bonkers, and wildly impressive, leaving audiences in a state of disbelieving wonder.  

For the second year in a row, they invite the best in the business from all over the world inside (and around, on top, and dangling outside of) warehouses and silos by the harbor to a bevy of impossible spectacles that are certain to surprise and move you. At the festival grounds there will also be food, post-apocalyptic punk-tivoli, and a late night cabaret accompanied with parties and live music. An average weekend in the dynamic world of new-circus.


A 10 minute recap of last year’s festival

The year’s program is not yet set · Festival and single-day tickets will be available (with the promise of early-bird discounts until the 1st of July) · Follow the updates here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1862039804096674/ · Buy tickets here: http://dynamoworkspace.dk/dynamo-nycirkus-festival/

4. JAM DAYS 2018 - AUGUST1st-4th

The amalgamated jazz, blues, and folk festival which sets the city’s stages rocking at the beginning of August has had a hard first couple of years. But this year it seems it’s found a solid core for the program.

With the absolute headliner, Jake Bugg, they’ve got a name that fits perfectly in the blues-folk universe while also attracting people with a knack for hit-lists and working-class English rock.

In addition to this, allow me to recommend the always unconventional pop-psychedelic-jazz-electro-rockers Hess is More, multilingual African-Caribbean Southern blues from Bokanté, and the awesomely vulnerable, ethereal neo-folk of Northern Jutland’s Sundays.


Jake Bugg live from T in the Park

650 kr. for a festival ticket · 350 kr. for a single-day admission for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday · Tickets can be found here: https://landing.livebackend.com/jam-days/

5. TINDERBOX 2018 – JUne 28th-30th

Tinderbox has a problem. It labors under the idea that you can create a brand and an identity by positioning yourself in the slipstream of the market. Snuggled right up to the audience’s ass. The idea that everything that once sold, still sells.

But this approach has a number of drawbacks: First of all, it makes it impossible to find anything that is in the process of emerging, anything that shocks you with the thrill of discovering something new.  And it makes it hard to encourage the audience to love something they don’t already know. Because it isn’t a part of the packaging. Which probably explains why the most groundbreaking artists play to sparse crowds, while the party rages to the standard bearers from Grøn Koncert.

Secondly, it becomes impossible to create an identity independent of the musical lineup. The audience is forced to judge the experience solely on the bookings for the year, instead of the culture of the festival as a whole. And that’s a tenuous situation within the landscape of European and Danish festivals, where competition is greater than ever. Which might explain why –unlike most other festivals- Tinderbox once again hasn’t sold out long before the opening day.

But with that out of my system, I can confidently state the following:

1. This year’s program features Prophets of Rage, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Editors and Jack White. How people who like Tiesto are supposed to get into Jack White and in what world Prophets of Rage’s fans can be imagined to abide Alanis Morisette, I’ll never know. But that doesn’t change the names.

2. There will be lots of delicious local food and drinks available and –judging by current trends- a fair amount of sunshine.

3. A huge international music festival is going down right here in Odense.

Three good reasons to snag one of the last remaining festival tickets before they’re gone. If you can afford the steep price, of course.


A recap of Tinderbox 2017

1.635 kr. for festival tickets · 1.035 kr for a single day for Friday or saturday · Buy tickets here: https://tinderbox.dk/billetter/



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Harbour culture festival at sea

Harbour culture festival at sea
Essay | Written by: Rasmus Møller Madsen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It has become a tradition that my siblings, our common friends and I, sail our ship to Odense during the Harbour Culture Festival (Havnekulturfestival). This year's trip in through the canal was quite a ride through the narrow inlet which ended in 20 minutes of circling in front of Odin's Bridge, while dancing salsa to an awesome MØ remix. We docked at the Byens Ø, sent snaps and group text messages, and the evening tired around quickly. The boat filled up with lots of happy people in no time. With about a ton of guests on board, the sonar was reading 0.4m and the Danish flag was licking the tips of the murky harbour water. But the captain is not worried, nor is the crew. Thousand robbery stories, kisses and hugs later we all fall asleep, arm in arm, wrapped in wooly blankets and kapok pillows.

When we wake up in the morning, the festival has already begun. It smells of barbecue and samosas. A steady stream of paddle-boarders, canoes and yellow water-bikes pass by during our morning status meeting, while we fix a broken guitar string, eat cheese bread and smear factor 30 on each other's backs. The harbour master also drops by for a chat, a cup of coffee and a MobilePay. He is not so busy, because even though there is a harbour festival, the docks are not close to being fully booked. Someone went out and found a festival program and we were surprised at how much there was to experience. And then the days go by. Too fast. Concerts, skateboards, scrapes and bumps guarantees a boat filled with snores every night. It is quite amazing to have a small base in the midst of the harbour, just as permanent residents of the big flat buildings all over the harbour, but something special happens when boarding the boat. All food and drink was shared, new people greeted and stories exchanged of what has been unavoidably missed around the harbour.

We raise our glass to the Harbour Culture Festival. And now back on the rough sea, rocking gently and reading a little more by Troels Kløvedal, this summer's cheesy guilty pleasure.



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